Rape, murder of minor girl at Mehjoor Nagar in 2005: File sent to HC for confirmation of death sentence to convict

As per law, the death sentence awarded by subordinate court has to be sent to the High Court for confirmation.

MUDASIR YAQOOB
Srinagar, Publish Date: Feb 21 2018 1:22AM | Updated Date: Feb 21 2018 1:22AM
Rape, murder of minor girl at Mehjoor Nagar in 2005: File sent to HC for confirmation of death sentence to convictFile Photo

A trial court which awarded death sentence a convict in rape and murder of a minor girl at Mehjoor Nagar here in 2005, has sent the case file to High Court for confirmation of the capital punishment. 

In its judgment on 31 December last year, second additional sessions judge Srinagar, Tahir Khurshid Raina, holding that it as a rarest of rare cases, awarded death penalty to convict Farooq Ahmad Pinzoo of Mehjoor Nagar for raping and murdering the girl.

As per law, the death sentence awarded by subordinate court has to be sent to the High Court for confirmation.

Section 366 of the code of criminal procedure provides that when a sessions court passes a death-sentence, the proceedings must be submitted to the High Court. The sentence cannot be executed unless it is confirmed by the High Court.

“It is now a well-established practice of High Courts to be satisfied both on the law as well the facts of the case before confirming a death sentence. In other words, the High Court must come to its own independent conclusion as to the guilt or innocence of the accused, independently of the opinion of the judge who has awarded the death penalty on convict,” said advocate Marouf Khan.

“When a death-sentence is submitted to it for confirmation, if the High Court is of the opinion that some further inquiry should be made or additional evidence taken, it may do so itself, or direct it to be done by sessions court. Unless the High Court otherwise directs, the presence of the convicted person may be dispensed with when such inquiry is made or such evidence is taken,” he added. 

The High Court has received the file from subordinate court, seeking confirmation of the death sentence. “The HC has also issued a notice to convict to give him an opportunity to be heard,” said advocate Mujeeb Andrabi who represented state in the case and established crime of the accused before the subordinate court.

As per the criminal procedure code, whenever such a case is submitted to the High Court, it may confirm the sentence, or pass any other sentence warranted by law; or annul the conviction, and convict the accused of any offence of which the sessions court might have convicted him or order a new trial on the same or an amended charge; or acquit the accused.

However, no order of confirmation of the death sentence can be passed until the period allowed for preferring an appeal has expired, or if an appeal has been filed within such period, until such appeal is disposed of.

The second additional sessions court Srinagar in its detailed judgment has refereed to various Supreme Court and High Court judgments while terming the case as “rarest of rare” and to be fit for sentencing death penalty.

In 2005, a minor baby of around six- years went missing at Mehjoor Nagar. Police had set up a special investigation team and after a month-long probe arrested Farooq Ahmad Pinzoo.

“He had raped the minor, put her little body in a sack and dumped it into a trench. He was arrested and sent to jail,” police had stated. 

The court said that in the case of murder, the convict is to be awarded either death penalty or life imprisonment. “However, Supreme Court has held that life imprisonment is a rule and death penalty is an exception to be passed only in rarest of the rare case. Rarest of the rare cases are mentioned as which are extremely brutal, grotesque, diabolical, revolting or committed in a dastardly manner so as to arouse intense and extreme indignation  of the community,” the court had said.

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